Welcome to a new series here at Bio Break called “A Week In…!” The idea here is to encourage myself to branch out into MMOs (and various other online titles) that I haven’t ever played or played in a while by putting them in my personal spotlight for a full week. Every day (except Saturday), as best I can, I’ll jump into these games, spend a bit of time playing and screenshotting, and add to an illustrated journal about my experiences to share with you the following week.
Why? For a few reasons: To explore past my regular games, to get a fun post out of it, to get some stories to share on the MOP podcast, and to touch base with titles that I don’t see for long periods of time. For our inaugural edition, I’ll be spending a week in Guild Wars 2. Was going to do it anyway and had it all set up to go, so I figured this would be a nice, easy point of entry!
Sunday: While I was mostly set up to get back into playing this character, a stop over at Divinity’s Reach was in order to buy some ascended jewelry for my Mesmer. I had something like 652 laurels, thanks to daily logins, so I wasn’t hurting for currency. I got some new rings and a necklace, but the earrings required globs of ecto that I lacked. Guess that could be a nice long-term goal.
I only have 24% world completion on this character, so there are plenty of zones left to uncover. I started with an easy lowbie one — Kessex Hills — and got to work. I needed some very familiar and relatively tame landscape to get reacquainted with the Mesmer’s weird skills. The hardest thing for me to get into my head was the use of gliding and mounts, both of which I had and kept forgetting to use when I needed them. I won’t tell you how many times I face-planted off of a hill instead of gliding gracefully down.
Monday: Little things I’m remembering that I like about Guild Wars 2: Remote looting with the “F” key. Instant mounting. Getting extra XP for mobs that haven’t been killed in a while. Multiple ways to accomplish heart objectives. Fighting your way out of a downed condition.
I was having a real hard time getting back into the groove of using a one-handed sword and pistol — it all felt awkward to me — so I ran back to a trading post, pawned some mystic coins, and bought myself a greatsword to do some MAJOR LAZER BEAM ACTION. It was… okay. I always struggle with the Memser because I like the *idea* of the class better than how it actually functions, which is “all over the place and weird.”
Beginning to regret not rolling up a new character, like a Thief or something I haven’t played to death.
Tuesday: The greatsword is a bit more workable as a Mesmer weapon, although there’s one of those ground-targetable skills that I hate. I always lose sight of where the cursor is on the screen and hate having to get it into the right position before activating an ability. Just say no to ground-target skills!
Anyway, today I stumbled across a rift, and as we all well know, when you encounter some mystical portal to realms unknown, you dive into it headfirst. Turned out that it was a big champion boss bug looking for some smackdown, so a-smacking I went. It was here that I learned how quickly a Mesmer can — and will — die. I’m squishier than an overripe banana that’s gone all black.
Wednesday: As I continue to map (and battle the odd Champion mob that wandered into my orbit), I once again felt that weird dichotomy that inhabits much of this game. That is to say, the activities are pleasant in and of themselves, but the rewards are lacking. Filling out a heart, for example, spits out a bit of money, XP, and karma my way (and unlocks vendors that aren’t that useful for anything). Killing that big spider mob champion up there gave me a backpack with some crafting gear in it and a piece of armor that I’ll break down into even more crafting items.
And I get that this is how Guild Wars 2 is designed — that the focus is far more on “you make the stuff with the random bits we throw your way” and “your gear is going to stay the same, more or less, forever.” But it doesn’t make looting fun. I’m getting tons of stuff, sure, but that stuff is mostly meaningless to me. I’m not really looking forward to the next drop or getting the dopamine hit off of seeing an orange tag on a piece of gear. It’s all just gristle for the mill.
Thursday: I can tell you that by Thursday, I wasn’t that pleased to see the login screen any longer. It wasn’t that any of this was bad, per se, but I really wasn’t feeling the Guild Wars 2 vibe the way I would need to in order to play for the long haul. That’s why it was mentally comforting to know that I had only committed for a week. Right about now, I’m eyeing that ejection lever.
I did run back to Rata Sum to buy a staff, because why not spend the session experimenting with a different weapon skillset? I will say that out of the three different weapon setups I’ve tried this week, this one I like the best. Chaos armor and chaos storm are a whole lot of fun to use, and I love how the basic attack ping-pongs between bad guys..
Friday: About halfway through this week, I knew how I wanted to end it, which was to make a new character. If and when I come back to Guild Wars 2, I want something to look forward to playing (and I know from this week that the Mesmer ain’t going to be it). So I whipped up a new Thief with an old name, Photon Jammer. I envision that she’ll be a two-pistol gunslinger, something straightforward and fun. So I got through her character creation process (which is still one of the best in the industry) and parked her in the intro zone for a future adventure.
And that’s it for A Week in Guild Wars 2! I like this format so far, as it lets me have some fun and play around without forcing myself to hit a time-heavy goal. I hope you enjoyed it too.